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Elder Teacher Mark Klusman Gets Posthumous Honor From City

mark klusman way
Jennifer Merritt
Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman unveils the secondary street sign for "Mark Klusman Way" on the corner of Vincent and Regina avenues.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, students, and faculty gathered at Elder High School Thursday morning to unveil a secondary street name in East Price Hill in honor of Mark Klusman, an Elder teacher of more than 50 years who died last December following a hit and run accident.

Smitherman initiated the secondary signage, though he did not know Klusman personally.

“Mark Klusman was a reflection of all the great Cincinnatians that we have,” Smitherman told WVXU. “His commitment to not just Elder but the community was extraordinary, and I just think he’s such a great example for the students here.”

On Dec. 9, Klusman was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he worked with students to clean litter off streets in East Price Hill. While in the hospital, Klusman’s right lung stopped working and he chose not to go on life support. Klusman died at the age of 74 on Dec. 27, 2017.

Cranley talked about the impact Klusman, an avid bicyclist and environmentalist, had on his brother.

“My brother, Mike, is an Elder alum, and he had Mr. Klusman for homeroom,” Cranley recalled to the crowd. “When Mr. Klusman was hit, the first thing my brother said was, ‘He’s such a great guy, I bet he forgives the person who did this to him.’ When I was here for the memorial service, I think it was his sister who told me in fact, in the hospital bed, he did offer Christian forgiveness for what had happened to him.”

Elder’s student council president Lou Langen, who had Klusman as a faculty advisor, spoke about the teacher’s interaction with Elder students. Klusman, also a runner, went to nearly every one of Elder’s cross-country meets to take pictures and support the students. He also woke early every morning to paint over graffiti that appeared on the side of the school's Schaefer Center. Klusman would drive students home from school, and gave most of his paycheck back to Elder, Langen said.

mark klusman way
Credit Jennifer Merritt / WVXU
Students, faculty, and members of the Klusman family gathered on a corner outside Elder High School for the unveiling Thursday.

“For me, he’s summed up like this: a good guy, down to earth, generous, and sincere,” Langen said. “He’s better than most.”

As of this morning, the corner of Vincent and Regina avenues now also displays a purple street sign – Elder’s school color – emblazoned with the words “Mark Klusman Way.”

Members of the Klusman family present at the unveiling also received copies of the sign.

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.